As the upfront presentations roll out this week, along with networks’ 2012-13 television schedules, it’s becoming clear that broadcasters are turning to a familiar strategy in an effort to improve their ratings, reports The New York Times. The strategy is to add comedies to the prime-time schedule.
Fox and NBC both made their presentations Monday, and both networks are increasing their bet on comedy. NBC will add four comedies to its schedule for fall, bringing its total to 10, while Fox plans to add three sitcoms, making its comedy total nine, including animated series. NBC also has three sitcoms in reserve as possible midseason replacements, the story reports.
Jennifer Salke, president of NBC Entertainment, introduced a monkey named Crystal as a co-star of its new sitcom "Animal Practice," about a veterinarian who dislikes humans, the story notes.
"Whether viewers will find humor in the antics of a medical monkey, or any of the other characters in the many sitcoms to be introduced in the coming months by broadcast networks, is a multibillion-dollar question. After the upfronts end, advertisers and agencies decide which shows to buy commercial time in, and which to avoid," the piece points out.
Fox Entertainment President Kevin Reilly — who was NBC’s entertainment president until his dismissal in 2007 — commented on NBC’s comedy-heavy lineup. “I think they announced like 200 this morning,” Reilly said, adding that marketers can expect pitches for “a lot of comedies” as the rest of the week plays out.